Putting out the Trash
Elizabeth DeHaye
Reading to Learn

Rationale:  The point of reading is to comprehend.  One strategy that helps us to better
comprehend is summarization.  The first rule of summarization is to delete trivial
information which includes unnecessary details and redundancies.  Learning to delete
trivial information will help students comprehend and remember what they read.  The children will learn this by observing the teacher modeling and then practicing removing trivial information from a passage.

Materials:  one copy per child of Incredible Caterpillars. Ranger Rick,  July 1992, p24-30;   and one transparency copy, vis-à-vis pen, over-head projector, 1 pencil per child, checklist for assessment
1.  Introduce lesson by telling students that we are going to learn about summarization:
Summarization helps us to remember what we read.  Today, we will learn about the first
step of summarization:  Deleting trivial information.   This means that we are going to "throw away" the unimportant details and information that is repeated.  Once we throw away the extra info, it will be easier to remember and understand the important stuff.
2.  "Let's all read the section of the article with the heading "Colorful Punks" to ourselves.
Remember to try to read silently.  Try to read without making any sound, and keep your
lips still".
3.  When all students have finished reading teacher will explain what trivial information is:
"Trivial information are the little details and words that are not very important to
remember.  We can also get rid repeated information.  This means that we can delete
information that has already been written".  Teacher will model deletion of trivial
information by crossing  it out on the transparency while the children follow along and
cross out trivial information on their copies: [Teacher reads:  "The colors are a danger sign.  They tell enemies, look out - I could hurt you!]   "The first and second sentence tell us the same thing, in different words.  So let's cross out the second sentence since it repeats what the first sentence said".   After all the trivial information had been removed, the class will read the information that is left out loud together.  Teacher will tell the students that this remaining information  is what they should remember after reading the article.
4.  Children will work silently on the part of the article headed "Fuzzy Wasn't".  They will be asked to read the entire section, and then go back and cross out the trivial information.

For assessment, the children will hand in their copies of the article. Teacher will assess
according to whether or not the student has removed unnecessary details and redundancies.

Pressley, M., Johnson, C.J., Symons, S., McGoldrick, J.A., & Kurity, J.A. (1989).
 Strategies that improve children's memory and comprehension of text.  The
 Elementary School Journal, 90, 3-32.

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